Eldest son Clinton (17) is intellectually handicapped and has autism, which means he requires full-time care.
Until recently, he was not able to go to the toilet on his own.
All previous attempts had failed and his parents Paula and Haydn were under great stress.
In July 2014, the NDIS began a trial in the Perth Hills area and Clinton was one of the first to be put on a specialised program.
Now, less than two years later, Clinton can go to the toilet on his own.
“It’s changed our lives. Up until a year ago he was wearing a nappy,” Mr Vernon said.
“He had been with other disability services until recently, when he became one of the first to get on an NDIS program.
“It was this extra funding that enabled him to be toilet- trained.”
Paula said the training – which involved working with a psychologist for one week and taking Clinton out of school for another five weeks to ensure he did not revert to old habits – had taken its toll on her health, but it was worth it.
“Clinton is now toilet-trained at home, school, when visiting family and in the community,” she said.
“It has made our lives much easier and has made a difference to the family unit socially.
“I am delighted; it is a big burden lifted off our shoulders.”
“There was a long time when he wasn’t in our world,” Mr Vernon said.
“But now he is. He can feed himself and he can also use the iPad to communicate.”
Clinton attends Durham Road School in Bayswater, an education support school where he is in his second-last year.
Mrs Vernon said although she did not know what the future held for Clinton, being toilet-trained made him more employable.
“My husband and I are getting older, and Clinton’s younger brother cannot be expected to look after him when we are gone,” she said.
“However, with Clinton now toilet-trained, a lot more opportunities will be available to him.”
Clinton’s NDIS plan also includes funding for a support worker to help him get ready for school and teach him basic life skills, such as getting dressed.
“Learning how to dress and wash himself is the next step,” Mr Vernon said.
Mrs Vernon said she was proud of what her son had achieved so far.
“It’s been a lot of hard work,” she said.
“Especially with his toilet training.
“But we’re so proud of him.”
“We’re very grateful for the help we have had,” Mr Vernon said.
“We’ve got a very supportive family and Clinton has always been so loved. It’s been a journey, but it’s our life.”